Inglewood Baptist Church reaches community with Saturation Saturdays
By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — In the business world, this method would be referred to as “flooding the market.”
In the spiritual vein, it’s a means of carrying out the Great Commission.
During the past few weeks, the members of Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville, have been involved in “Saturation Saturdays” — an initiative in which church members fan out in the community to distribute door-hanging bags that contain information about the church, DVDs about Jesus, invitations to VBS and other items.
Thus far, the ministry has reached more than 7,000 homes in the East Nashville area, with one more Saturation Saturday planned for the coming weeks.
It’s been amazing. Absolutely amazing,” said Inglewood lead pastor Kevin Shrum. “We’ve been blown away by the response from our people. We had more than 100 members who participated in at least one of the Saturation Saturdays.”
The ultimate aim is to reach everyone who lives in the 37216 zip code. Shrum said roughly 90 percent of the homes in the zip code have been reached.
“The goal is to get as much information to as many houses as quickly as possible,” said Shrum. “We really wanted to saturate our area with a blitz of information.”
The Saturation Saturdays are just one phase of a broader plan that Inglewood has designed to impact the community and share the gospel.
“This fall, we will be following up with what we’re calling (the) ‘slowing down’ (stage), where we are leveraging where we live in that neighborhood,” Shrum said. “It’s focused on the street that I live on, so to speak, in terms of digging down deep and having gospel conservations with our neighbors.
“It’s going to help us examine questions like ‘how can I leverage my home, my work place, my job, where I play sports — how can I leverage those places for the advancement for the kingdom of God?” he added.
David Evans, evangelism specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, said the energy surrounding Saturation Saturdays is a reflection of the overall culture at Inglewood Baptist. And that, in turn, is a reflection of the church’s leadership.
“It’s hard not to be excited about evangelism when you are around Kevin Shrum,” said Evans. “Evangelism is truly contagious. And when someone is excited and passionate about it, others tend to quickly pick up on that and they want to be a part of it, too.”
Shrum noted that Inglewood has partnered with Saturate USA — an organization that operates with the express purpose of helping churches reach their communities for Christ.
“We had a couple of people who traveled to Arkansas in the fall and attended the training for the National Day of Prayer,” said Shrum. “While they were there, they ran across the information for Saturate USA. We found out that they basically would provide the (door-hanging) bags and the Jesus films. They also provided us with maps, which broke down our area into manageable segments.”
The Saturate USA website states that the organization’s goal is to “take the love of the gospel to 60 million households by the end of 2020. The hope is to spark true repentance and revival in our beloved country.”
Evans, the TBMB evangelism specialist, said there is a reason that “saturation initiatives” — such as the one at Inglewood — have been making a significant impact in recent days.
“Saturation is a process, not a program — and there’s a big difference,” said Evans. “Programs generally need a large amount of resources and a large amount of people. Processes, on the other hand, don’t tend to strain a church’s budget and they can be effective with two people or 200 people. The bottom line is that programs are often mechanistic, where as processes are organic.”
Shrum said the Inglewood congregation was enthusiastic about the project from the very beginning. More than 70 people participated in the “packing party” — where the hanging bags were filled — and the excitement continued to build in the days that followed.
Although the exact numbers are hard to track, Shrum said Inglewood has already had several visitors on Sunday mornings as a direct result of the Saturation Saturday projects. He said he is also optimistic that the ministry will lead to an increase in VBS attendees.
The true impact of the ministry, however, might not be seen for several months, perhaps even years.
“It’s kind of a long-term thing,” he said. “And really, we’ve left the results to the Lord.”